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11 Enchanting Small Towns in India

Updated on May 31, 2018
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Srikanth likes India. He is passionate about helping people make the most of their trip to India.

Living Root Bridge in Mawlynnong

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons | Source

India is a vast country with different cultures in various states. Besides big cities, there are thousands of small towns across this great nation. These small towns are great to relax and rejuvenate yourself from the daily hustle-bustle of life.

Landour

Located in Uttarakhand, in the Lower Western Himalaya, this small cantonment town is a popular hill station in North India. It is around 6 kilometers from Mussoorie.

Nearest airport to Landour is Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun, which is around 60 kilometers away. Buses, cabs and share taxis are available from Dehradun to Landour. The town is well-connected by road.

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Landour, Mussoorie, Uttarakhand, India
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Mawlynnong

Mawlynnong, which is also known as God’s Own Garden, is located in the East Khasi Hills district of Meghalaya. It is around 100 kilometers from Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya.

Umroi Airport, which is around 30 kilometers from Shillong, is the nearest airport to Mawlynnong. From the airport you can take a cab till Khasi Hills Sumo stand at Bara Bazaar market. From here shared Sumo run till Mawlynnong. Package tours are also available.

If you want to get away to the mountains, Mawlynnong is just right for you. It offers you many opportunities to experience mother nature in all her glory. The people in this region are well-known for their hospitality.

Mawlynnong is a model of cleanliness. It was declared the cleanest village in Asia in 2003 and the cleanest in India in 2005 by Discover India magazine. Tidying up is a ritual that is taken very seriously here.

The living root bridges in the region (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) are fascinating. Sky View, a 85-ft-high viewing tower made of bamboo, is another major attraction in Mawlynnong.

There are many more wonderful places to delight you here, like Mawlynnong Waterfall, cobbled streets bordered with thatched Khasi huts and Church of Epiphany.

Mandawa

Mandawa is in Jhunjhunu district of Rajasthan. It is at the heart of the Shekhawati region. This amazing small town is well-known for its forts and havelis.

Jaipur is the nearest airport to Mandawa, which is well-connected by road. Jhunjhunu Railway Station is the nearest railway station. Government buses are available from towns and cities in the region to Mandawa.

Murmuria Haveli, Binsidhar Newatia Haveli, Chokhani Double Haveli, Lakshminarayan Ladia Haveli, Hanuman Prasad Goenka Haveli, Mohan Lal Saraf Haveli, Goenka Double Haveli and Harlaika Well are the main attractions of Mandawa. The best time to visit Mandawa is between October and March.

Majuli

This river island (formed by River Brahmaputra) is in Assam; it is the cultural capital of Assam. It is the first island district in India and the largest fresh water island in the world. This surreal island covers an area of around 875 square kilometers.

Nearest airport to this picturesque riverine island is the Jorhat Airport, which is around 20 kilometers from Majuli. Jorhat Town railway station is the nearest railway station to Majuli. From Jorhat you need to take a ferry to Majuli.

Majuli puts you in tune with nature. It is a heaven for bird watchers. Many migratory birds have made it their home. There are 22 Vaishnava Satras (Hindu Vaishnavite monasteries and centres for art) in Majuli, making it a good learning center for neo-Vaishnavite philosophy. Kamalabari Satra, Garmur, Tengapania, Dakshinpat Satra and Auniati Satra are the main attractions of Majuli.

Best time to visit Majuli is between July and March. While you are here, remember to enjoy Assamese cuisine. Try Khar, Laksa, Tenga, Pitha and the Komal Saul cereal. It is a good idea to rent a bicycle to get around the island.

Ziro

Located in Arunachal Pradesh, this wonderful census town is at an elevation of 1,700 meters. Popularly known as Apatani Plateau, it is the district headquarters of the Lower Subansiri District. Ziro is around 167 kilometers from Itanagar, the capital of Arunachal Pradesh.

Surrounded by the Himalayas, this quaint old town charms you with its stunning natural beauty, balmy climate, terrace paddy fields and pine hills. This region is home to the Apa Tani tribe.

Lalbari Airport, which is around 124 kilometers from Ziro, is the nearest airport. Naharalagun railway station (around 100 kilometers) is the nearest railway station. Ziro is well-connected by road. Government buses and shared taxis are available.

Ziro is a destination where you can visit any time of the year. It enables you to relax, rejuvenate and connect with nature. Tarin Fish Farm, Talley Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, Kile Pakho, Shiv Linga, Meghna Cave Temple, Pine Grove, Dolo Mando and Midey are some places of interest in and around Ziro.

Matheran

Matheran is a hill station in Maharashtra. It is around 80 kilometers from Mumbai. It is well-known for its colonial architecture, scenic beauty, sunrise and sunset views, look-out points and pleasant climate. Matheran and its surrounding areas were declared an eco-sensitive zone in 2003. It is one of the few places in the world where vehicles are not allowed.

How to reach Matheran?

Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai is the nearest airport to Matheran, which is well-connected by rail and road. Reach Neral Station at the bottom of the hills.

A mini train operates between Neral Station and Matheran Station. I suggest that you travel in this train. This two hour journey offers you many opportunities to enjoy mother nature in all her glory.

Any time is good time to visit Matheran. Prabal Fort, One Tree Hill Point, Louisa Point, Echo Point, Lake Charlotte, Porcupine Point, Rambagh Point, Hart Point, Panaroma Point, Monkey Point, Shivaji's Ladder, Alexander Point, Honeymoon Hill, Little Chowk Point and Olympia are the main attractions here.

Valparai

This hill station, which is around 3,500 feet above sea level, is in Tamil Nadu. It is located in the Anamalai Tiger Reserve in Western Ghats. Well-known for its scenic beauty, Valparai offers view points, wild life, rivers, waterfalls, forests, estates and dams.

Coimbatore International Airport, which is around 124 kilometers from Valparai, is the nearest airport. Coimbatore junction is the nearest railway station. Buses and cabs are available from Coimbatore to Valparai.

Sholayar Dam, Monkey Falls, Kadamparai Dam, Number Parai, Nallamudi Viewpoint, Loam's Viewpoint, Tiger Valley, Aliyar Dam, Balaji Temple, River Koolangal, Nirar Dam, Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park, Grass Hills, Karamalai Annai Velankanni Church, Chinnakallar Waterfalls, Athirapally Falls, Chitti Vinayagar Temple, Manampalli Forest and Carver Marsh Monument are main attractions in and around Valparai.

Yana

Located in Utttara Kannada district, in the lush evergreen forests of the Western Ghats, Yana is famous for its unusual karst rock formations. These rocks delight trekkers. Yana's lush green backdrops, beautiful hillocks and dense forests beckon nature lovers from all over the world.

Goa International Airport, which is around 127 kilometers, is the nearest airport to Yana. Kumta railway station, which is around 25 kilometers, is the nearest railway station. It is a good idea to take a cab from airport/railway station to Yana.

Bhairaveshwara Shikhara (120 meters) and the Mohini Shikhara (90 meters) are the main attraction of Yana. Hindus believe that Lord Vishnu (in the form of Mohini) killed the evil demon Basmasura at this place.

Chikmagalur

Located in the foothills of the Mullayanagiri range (a trekker's delight), Chikmagalur is famous for its hills, valleys, verdant greenery, picturesque landscapes, and dark, rich and smooth coffee. It is a melting pot of different cultures.

Mangaluru Airport, which is around 158 kilometers from Chikmagalur, is the nearest airport. The town is well-connected by rail and road. It has nice hotels. I stayed at the Gateway Hotel when I visited there last time.

We drove from my place to this beautiful small town. I still remember driving to the peak (well, almost) of Mullayanagiri, enjoying the beauty of nature on the way. We visited Baba Budangiri, Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary and other places. It was fun. My son enjoyed this trip very much.

Any time is good time to visit Chikmagalur, which has a pleasant climate. Mullayanagiri, the highest peak in Karnataka, Kemmangundi, Kondadarama Temple, Hebbe Falls, Sharadamba Temple, Jamia Mosque, Kalhatti Falls, Baba Budangiri, Siddheshwara Temple, Kudremukh National Park, Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary and Saint Joseph's Cathedral are the main attractions in and around Chikmagalur.

An amazing place. The road leading to the hill is very beautiful and the last stretch, just before you reach your destination is too dangerous. Its best if you hire an experienced driver. The trek to the hill top is thrilling.

— ManishPreeti, about Mullayanagiri

Agatti Island

This 7.6-km-long island is located on a coral atoll (known as Agatti atoll) in Lakshadweep. It is at a distance of 459 kilometers from Kochi. Agatti Island is famous for its aquatic diversity (including coral growths, multi colored coral fishes and sea turtles), turquoise waters, white sands and waving coconut trees. Its natural beauty is enchanting.

Agatti Island has an airport, the Agatti Aerodrome. Flights are available from Bengaluru and Kochi to the island. You can also take any of the five passenger ships (MV Kavaratti, MV Bharat Seema, MV Amindivi, MV Arabian Sea and MV Minicoy) that operate between Kochi and Lakshadweep. The duration of the journey is around 15 hours.

Public Library, NIOT Sea Water Desalination Plant, Anthropological Museum, South Beach, Eastern Jetty and Lagoon Beach are the main attractions of Agatti Island.

Agatti Island Beach Resort and Bangaram Island Resort are two good places to stay in Agatti Island. There are five villas in Agatti Island Beach Resort. Bangaram Island Resort is a casual beachfront resort. It offers pared-back rooms in thatched huts. These resorts are child friendly.

Image taken from Wikimedia Commons
Image taken from Wikimedia Commons | Source

Nako

Nestled in the Himalayas, this picturesque, unspoilt and serene small town is famous for its beautiful lake and Buddhist chortens. It is in Himachal Pradesh. Since it is located within the restricted region near the Tibetan border, if you are not an Indian citizen, you will need an Inner Line Permit. The permit is available in Shimla for free.

Shimla airport (which is around 332 kilometers) is the nearest airport to Nako. Buses and cabs are available from the airport to Nako. Best time to visit this enchanting small town is between April and October.

© 2017 Srikanth R

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    • srirad0675 profile image
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      Srikanth R 7 months ago

      Thank you. Please visit. India is a wonderful country.

    • Coffeequeeen profile image

      Louise Powles 7 months ago from Norfolk, England

      Oh I always enjoy reading your articles on places to visit in India. Makes me all the more tempted to hop on a plane and visit all these beautiful places!

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